Carbohydrate Brokeback Mountain

I call my husband “The Bear” and it’s a nickname that’s started to stick.  As with most nicknames, it spawns spin-off expressions.  He calls me “Goat”, or on occasion “Sheltland Goat”, with many variations.  Once in a silly mood, I called him ‘chunky bear‘ and the sound of it made me giggle. Obviously, he didn’t care for it, as it does imply that he is ‘chunky’.  It was not an often used name, but it does come out now and again.  Truth is; winter has come and so has the carbohydrates; we’re both feeling a little soft around the edges.

therightcarbs_heroStanding in the walk-in closet, attempting to pack for our last minute trip to Vancouver.  I catch an unflattering glimpse of myself.  Well..not like seeing an unflattering glimpse of myself is the equivalent of aurora borealis. It’s not rare to catch a glimpse in the mirror and feel varying degrees of dissatisfaction.  I’m not Victoria’s Secret, I’m not even her dirty little secret.  I’m not really their market audience.  I’ve got itty-bitties up top and then all the action is down below.  As I always say, my thighs are Godzilla and my calves Tokyo.  I lean into the mirror.  Oh crap.  Has my face gotten fat? Am I looking a little puffy?

Kim-Kardashian-instagram-selfie-2461622I implore my husband for some consolation. “Aww…” he says,chuckling a little and pinching my cheeks: “My chunky-goat-wife”.  I took this remark like an absolute champ.

Jenni-in-a-Calmer-Moment‘Chunky goat wife?’ Scientists couldn’t extract adorability from it and a public relations expert couldn’t spin it into a frothy confection.  At least ‘chunky bear’ sounded a bit like a yummy pastry.  “I’ll have an non fat cappuccino and two chunky bears please”;  at best ‘chunky goat wife’ could be a poorly translated name for a questionable looking hot dish served in the Mongolian mountains.  He really ran with that bit, which is fair I suppose, I did start it. But doesn’t he realize? It’s only funny when I am the one dishing it out. I’d like to keep my plate clean of comebacks thank you.  Needless to say, I spent the next hour pouting, glaring and poking my chin contemptuously.  Then ole Chunky Bear had the nerve to complain that I wasn’t being more helpful with the packing.  Uh, well here’s a tip, if you want your wife’s help, best check yourself before you wreck yourself with the pet names.

f5b7828531a537ab9eb7f44a4272d530I don’t want to be one of those wives that you have to lie to…but I wouldn’t mind being the kind of wife you bend the truth for.  Nod and smile and back away slowly.  That’s how you get it done.  I don’t want to be one of those women who are weight-obsessed.  I am who I am, and my body is shaped as it is.  If it were fifty years ago, my perception of my physical circumstances would be a different story.

ad1Of course, I’d be a fool to say I didn’t wish that I had legs that went on forever.  Truth is, I was curvy even as a little kid.  In my late elementary school days, someone started calling me “Chunky Soup“, saying that like the famous soup line, I too could be eaten with a fork or a spoon.  I didn’t know what that meant…but I was certain it was a nickname Audrey Hepburn never got pegged with.

largeChubby knees, stubby legs and dimply thighs are super cute when you’re a naked toddler running around the backyard.  As one gets older, and possibly more modest, such is best kept under leggings, trousers, pantyhose and A-frame skirts.

Fkowt Don’t get me wrong, I think Lena Dunham is awfully brave.  In her television series “Girls”, she is fearless when it comes to being vulnerable.  Sure, it’s her character Hannah being portrayed in those uncomfortable sex scenes and unflattering rompers, but Dunham is writing herself into these situations. She is deliberately exposing to the cast, crew, professional partners, advertisers and the audience.

Lena-Dunham-nude-topless-bush-sex-Girls-s2e5-2013-hd720p-15 It’s brave, bold, revolutionary, but I wouldn’t participate.  If I was director, writer, star and producer of my popular HBO program, I would have an iron clad nudity and romper policy.  The show would still be brilliant; it would be the new “Girls” which was the new “Sex and the City“.

66301_parker93_122_499loThe main theme on my show would focus on a love triangle between myself, Ryan Gosling and George Clooney; Clooney being a wealthy suitor, and Gosling a young man from the wrong side of the tracks.  They fight for my love and affection, (this will go on for years) and as we slip into old age, the winner gets to repeat the story to me over and over about how I dicked everyone around until I got dementia.  It’s a completely original idea, and it’s going to blow minds.  And never in the years of the beloved series ‘Love Sandwich’ would you see me scantily clad.  I would dress like Katherine Hepburn and in all my love scenes I’ll wear a scuba suit.

hepburnSometimes I think to myself…”I could stand to lose a few pounds”.  And I visualize a montage of myself doing sit ups, and jogging in the streets, and punching large slabs of meat.  I would be so fit.

44-sexy-fit-women-13My problem is…I love bread.  I love cheese, red wine and creamy lattes .  And bread.  I love bread so much that if I was on death row my last meal would just be various types of bread with things to spread, dip and place on top of it.

creepy girl stares at bread and jelly cello54aI used to go to this amazing restaurant when I lived in Victoria where they offered an all you could eat soup deal with the greatest bread ever.  Hot, buttery and pelted with chunks of rock salt.  I could have ordered the special and sent the soup back in the same way my friend Robin does with a wings and beer feature at the local pub.  She wants the cheap wings, but tells the waitress to give the beer to someone else cause she doesn’t want that cheap piss anywhere near her face.


Fair enough, life is short, take only the good stuff.  I don’t even know who this Franz character is but I wish that I were that duck so I could eat all his bread.  Alas, this is a world full of limitations, boundaries, rules and limits.  Bread is a dietary no no, and most would recommend cutting out yeast and flour based products.  My love for bread is like the love in Brokeback Mountain. I just don’t know how to quit you, carbohydrates.  I love you, I hate you, I want you inside my mouth.  (…too much?)

Brokeback Mountain I really can’t remember “Brokeback Mountain”…though I did wind up seeing it twice at the cinema.  But I do remember just sobbing my little heart out.  I meant to re-watch it recently, but got distracted on Netflix and watched “Bring it On” instead.  It was just too sad to watch again. Maybe that’s how I can justify comparing the film to carbohydrates and plump thighs.  It was devastating to me that you could just miss your whole life by not being true to yourself; and for Ennis that was Jack Twist, for me it’s twist bread.

tumblr_md3ixfsZKW1rbear9o1_500Okay, I’m sorry for you situation with the forbidden love and all, but this is my blog and I can say what I want.  I’m comparing your love to my love of bread–deal with it.  In reality, I’m perfectly average. Not Karen Carpenter, not Mama Cass, just somewhere in the middle.  When I look at old photos of myself I balk at how young and slender I looked.   Of course, when that picture was being taken, I had that same voice in my head that compared and criticized.  In a year’s time, I could look at a picture of myself today and think I looked perfectly lovely.  With this in mind, I try to do my future self a favor and look at myself in the present as she would do in hindsight.

fun-house-mirrorImages Courtesy of Google

More Than You Could Ever Know

Last Sunday morning, the first of December, was spent doing what I prefer to do best. Cradling a cup of coffee in my fingers, wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa.  We had been dog-sitting from the night before, and I had Harriet nestled upon my lap, curled next to the fire, listening to Micheal Bublé’s Christmas album.

Michael-Buble_All-I-Want-For-Christmas-Is-You-CoverWe’re listening to “All I want for Christmas Is you”, another favorite Christmas favorite.  It never falls to choke me up a little at the end of “Love Actually“. Even when Mariah Carey goes there, I can still get behind it.


It’s an ordinarily a fast-paced jingle, (What? Mariah Carey co-wrote it? Huh, who knew?) but Bublé makes it a slow love song.  I am feeling aglow with holiday spirit.  Feeling hopeful for the month ahead.  Benjamin is checking his email and spots a message from Immigration and Citizenship Canada.  He says my name aloud in a stunned tone and reads the email to me.  His permanent residency application had been completed.  We simply had to pay a fee and we would be contacted regarding a time in which to meet an immigration official.  Benjamin joins me on the couch, Harriet still nesting near me.  We kissed and cried as Bublé crooned along.  All we want is to be a normal married couple, free to leave the country, free to make long term decisions, free to make a home. And how lovely that this news comes to us before Christmas.

kiss5 The December calendar has a lot of writing on it.  Meetings, events, parties, concerts.  It’s all so busy and exciting but unfortunately the temperature is so bone cold that it would normally take dynamite to blast me out of the house. It was -20 yesterday, and I can’t say that I love that.  There’s not even the magic of snow.  It’s that part of the snow cycle where it starts to look like cookie dough, mud and chunks of rock and debris in thick slushy slabs.  The cold is bitter and is mood transferable.  I’ve been so anxious about winter driving conditions.  My tire fell flat the other day.  There was nothing worse than standing by helplessly in the frigid night air as Benjamin set up the air compressor to fill the tire so I could take it to the shop in the morning.  In a moment of sheer anxiety, practically frothing at the mouth my husband took hold of my shoulders.  “Alicia, you have got to accept that shit happens“.  Shit happens?


I know shit happens.  Have you read a newspaper lately?  Across the world and in your very own community lives are being smashed to smithereens.  I’d need both hands to count my major “SH” moments.  Natural disasters, major accidents, violent encounters, broken hearts, I’ve seen my share.  The agony of catastrophe, the inconvenience of tragedy.  Things take forever, and them they come and go too quickly.  Things get broken and need mending.  People make mistakes and need forgiving.  Shit is happening all the time everywhere.  Sure, I could cope better with frustration, I could be gentler with myself, I could go with the flow, but I don’t.  I don’t care for surprises.  Good or bad, I’d prefer ample warning.


From that Sunday on the sofa, feeling blessed, happy and relaxed, and all that shit happens stress in between, came Friday afternoon. I arrive home for my lunch break around 1:30pm and see the light flashing on the answering machine. “Hello this is Immigration and Citizenship Canada, bring your pertinent papers and we’ll see you in Vancouver next Wednesday. I’m not going to give you my name or number so just be there or be square. So…Bye.”  Uh…what? Next Wednesday? I looked at the packed calendar…this was not on the agenda. We have work. It’s so expensive, so close to Christmas. Such a long way to go on such short notice.  We’ve waited forever for news, and now it’s on our door step and the timing is utterly inconvenient.  Not to sound ungrateful; we want nothing more than to resolve this and move forward with our lives.  But it’s a bit like the old librarian in “The Shawshank Redemption“, he had gotten used to imprisonment.  He had a good thing going at the library, had a pet crow, good friends, he was used to the conditions.  When faced with freedom it becomes his undoing.

Shawshank-Redemption-Script-Brooks I called Benjamin, who shared my reaction.  It all seems so sudden.  Not even a week’s notice to make plans.  We speak briefly, and hang up to call our respective employers.  I begin looking up flights, weather reports, all while being on hold with the immigration call center.   I am trying to connect with an actual human on the phone, but an elaborate labyrinth of options always leads to something along the lines of: “We’re super duper busy right now, we urge you to check the website”.  The lunch hour nearly over, and not a single moment spent actually lunching, I try the old trick–to just press zero, but that wily old recording, she’s just not having it. I bellowed…no, raged into the phone. “I JUST WANT TO SPEAK TO A REAL PERSON”.

psycho I was desperate, angry, frustrated.  How foolish were we to think we had any control in this matter.  We did not dream of being called in December, we figured sometime between January and March…maybe in the spring at the latest.  Not next week.  When I finally got on the wait list, I was told there would be at least a thirty minute wait, which was time I did not have.  Okay then…let’s drive to Vancouver in the middle of winter. Why not?

vpb0044We’ve made lists and arrangements and are warming up to this new development.  I’m nervous about the weather, Ben is nervous about the meeting.  Of course, there’s nothing to fear, our marriage is legitimate and he has every right to be here.  In an immigration office I once saw an beastly, overweight senior citizen with his young Asian bride. She wore a basketball jersey as a dress with striped knee socks and high heels. She complained endlessly about the long wait and he snapped impatiently at her.  Certainly they had more to answer to than my husband and I…but you just never know.  Benjamin has sorted through all the required documents, and already we are discussing what else to bring…just in case.  You could bring every piece of paperwork you ever received, along with your marriage certificate, love letters and photographs and they’d be like “Everything looks great, if we could just get a receipt from the coffee you purchased this morning, that would be great”.   And the color would drain from your face, blanching at the memory of telling the girl at Starbucks to go ahead and keep that golden ticket.


It’s as if we cant possibly imagine our lives without that hanging over our heads.  From the moment we met, we have lived under a bureaucratic umbrella.  Separation was a very real possibility if we didn’t cling to each other fiercely, and fill out the appropriate paperwork for three different countries.  To think that by Christmas morning my husband would be a permanent resident, that we could think seriously about our future seems too good to be true.  I can’t let myself imagine the possibilities it until I know the outcome. If you ask my husband he’d like to acquire a dog, truck and a baby.  Those things sound perfectly lovely, but you know me…I’m also excited about being able to leave the country again.  Maybe we’ll get to Paris after all.  As long as we get there together.

Benjamin: husband, friend and bear…best of luck on Wednesday.  All I want for Christmas is vous.


             Images Courtesy of Google

Guns & Mom Jeans

Dear George Clooney,

Rumor has it that you are in British Columbia.  And not Vancouver, our own version of Hollywood, where a celebrity could be spotted and it was no big deal.  But in Enderby, my goodness, how exciting.  Just how did I learn this? Why in my first production meeting at the theatre company.  I stayed just long enough to ask a million questions of the unsuspecting person who mentioned this in passing, jam an apple fritter into my mouth, and leave early to go see a man about an avocado colored hide-a-bed.  The height of professionalism and sophistication, darling.

George? My George? In my province? Be still my heart! I do apologize for gushing like a school-girl, but y’all know how I feel about that salt and pepper stallion.

clonneyAnd if Clooney isn’t your jam, may I add to this sexy stew and say that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will also be in the film?

dwayne_johnson_99OMG, we are practically neighbours, should probably pop by for a cup of sugar and then stay forever.  Mmm, talk about being stuck between a Rock and a Hard Place.

George+Clooney+Kid+Rock+Spike+TV+Guys+Choice+wINp7893k2glWhoa.  Now that’s a horse of a different color.  Wrong kind of Rock altogether.

George Clooney

I’m just kidding…George and I, we like to joke around. We laugh and laugh all the way to Lake Como.  I mean, we would have a blast, if he would only take my calls, and his lawyers would cool it with the restraining orders.  It’s not illegal to love you George!

I have this friend, her name is Harmony.  The other night we and two others stayed up late into the night talking about all kinds of things.  Ms Harmony told us how she felt about the Rock.  That she would climb him like a tree and swing on his body like an adorable monkey on a tree branch.  Her language was far more offensive than this.  But you get the drift.  You know what I’m thinking?  That she and I come find you.  I’m talking road-trip, Thelma and Louise style.

t and l Obviously, we’ll tweak a few things, no one will get raped…(except for the Rock evidently), and we might skip driving off a cliff with Harvey Keitel running behind us in slow motion.  But the guns, car chases, cigarette smoking, and adorable bad-girl outfits, seedy motel rooms…that just sounds like a fun weekend.


You know what my favorite thing about blogging is? One minute I’m writing a letter to George Clooney, and then suddenly I’ve implicated my friend Harmony into molesting a wrestler-turned-actor, while firing guns and rocking some seriously awesome 90′s mom jeans.


So, lets just close this wildly drawn circle.  Mr Clooney, George, if I may. How about you call up your friend, The Rock…(which brings up an important question, in your mobile phone, is it “Rock”? “The Rock”, “Rock, The”, or just plan ole Dwayne?)  Whatever you call him, let’s set up a little double date, with me and my fabulous friend? We’ll be the dusty, gun wielding broads in the high-waisted jeans ready to take you wherever you need to go.

celebritycars-jpg_141324Images Courtesy of Google

Slipping Through Fingers

My husband and I are struggling to come to terms with the end of our holiday.  I’m so good at being on vacation.  I could do it professionally.  ???????????????????????????????I feel like there was this tremendous push to get everything organized pre-holiday.  I was so focused on getting everything ready, and then when I was on the holiday I was–”Is everyone happy?” “Is everyone comfortable?” “Why is there not a drink in my hand?” You know, the usual.  I was concerned with time.  “Is there enough time to see/do/eat/drink/experience everything?” Nope.  There never is, never will be, so absorb what you can, when you can, cause time, she slips through your fingers like grains of sand.


When my sister-in-law Kate arrived we hit the ground running.  We showed her Kamloops; went to my favorite yoga studio, did breakfast at Hello Toast, checked out a Project X Production in Prince Charles Park. Before the next leg of our BC tour, we showed her our favorite view.

Kate Holiday 001

We hit up the Shuswap region, then went to Dutch Lake in Clearwater. 

???????????????????????????????We then picked up my brother Matthew and then drove through the entire Okanagan region.


We drove to Vancouver, went to the Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z concert, then spent a few days in the city, walking around and perpetually getting over hangovers from the night before.

??????????????????????????????? Of course, you can’t be on the road forever.  As the trip was dwindling, I occasionally thought about ‘home’.  I like our little space, I like our little life.  But, my brain was so focused on everything before the trip, and then I focused solely on the trip.  I didn’t even bring a notebook, I brought a book, and barely cracked it.  After Matthew and Kate left, Ben and I took the long way home. And I jotted a few thoughts on the back of a hotel receipt.   I didn’t think about the future.  I just thought about ‘right now’, which is not always my strong suit, so I’ll consider that a success.

???????????????????????????????I’m happy to be home, but it’s a shock to the system to say the least.  As I write this, my husband is lying on the office floor, completely exhausted by two days of physical labour.  He’s still getting over the amazing rental car we had.  In fact, he actually circled the block several times before finally dropping it off at the airport.  When he got back into the Kia Rio, he looked so forlorn that it totally broke my heart.

???????????????????????????????As for me, August is shaping up to be extremely busy, I’m at my new job, which is like…a career, so that’s exciting, and daunting.  I’ve also taken on a temporary work contract, and will be doing some improv shows on…oh, how about this weekend?  I love it, but I fear that my brain is as mushy and squishy as my little post-holiday physique.  (Just kidding, I’m as rock hard as ever).  And then there’s the blogging.  I really enjoyed posting videos.  I may do it now and again.  I’ll always post on the daily, but occasionally, it’s going to be fast and loose, quick and dirty.  For now is the time for putting my nose to the grindstone after having my head in the clouds.


Photos Courtesy of Alicia Ashcroft

Mirrors, Justin Timberlake

Feel like I am handing in my homework at the last minute. Drove Kelowna to Vancouver and currently shoveling tequila down my throat before the Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake ‘Legends of Summer’ concert. Toodles bitches!

Crying Shame

What a pop culture buzz kill, I go away from the internet for one night, and the cutest boy from “Glee” overdoses and dies in a Vancouver hotel room.


Argh, that shit is so sad to me.  This is Heath Ledger all over again.  And you know, I call him a ‘kid’ but he’s exactly my age.  It feels like a blip, and then…it’s gone? Bummer.  Needless to say, people are really going ape-shit over this one.  It’s always difficult when attractive, talented people die.  It’s easy to criticize this fact, but it’s true.  It’s fine, I’m not judging, that kind of thing saddens me as well, but I can appreciate how someone could flip through a newspaper and say “Yeah…so?” We do tend to lose perspective in the news, in a world of civil war, genocide, rape, poverty, natural disasters–where unspeakable atrocities are happening right this minute, and we all are politely aware, but then boy oh boy, watch out, Finn from “Glee” dies and there is an unexpected emotional impact.  Why? Because it’s a singular tragedy.  It’s a fucking waste.  An unbelievable waste of potential.  And yes, while it is being deemed a tragic accident, his actions were a bit like Russian Roulette. There was always a bullet waiting in the chamber.  Judgements are flying, because of how he died, that somehow he should be exempt from compassion because it was self inflicted.  Sadly this will be his definition…the guy who had it all, who then died of a heroin overdose in the fancy hotel….

I keep pausing.  I keep trying to wrap my brain around the choices that lead us down ill-fated avenues.  It’s just a crying shame, that’s all.


As a general rule, I don’t follow “Glee”.  I’ve seen the first few seasons and saw a few out-of-order episodes on a very long plane ride.  (why do they do that by the way? Scattered episodes of a series, what good does that do me on a ten-hour Auckland to L.A?)  But it’s adorable, and the singing is fun, and I cry at least once an episode.  In New Zealand, I once left mates at a pub to go home, curl up on the couch to watch “Glee”, and it was wonderful.  But I wouldn’t call myself a ‘gleek’.


Still, Monteith’s death is the perfect mix for a media frenzy.  It’s fascinating stuff.  There are so many articles. So much speculation.  Final moments, last sightings, crystal clear 20/20 hindsight.  And the tweets, my god the tweets!  There are a lot of tweens out there that could fill the Grand Canyon with grief.  Poor @GleesAllINeed, tweeted that she was just realizing that life…”Glee”, twitter, will never be the same.  When I came across the tweet:

“I’m not even close to being emotionally ready for when lea michele makes her first tweet about cory monteith

I didn’t so much smirk, but I rolled my eyes, with an Oh puh-lease when I realized I was a woman, hunched over the computer, well past midnight, who had gotten distracted from research and writing and reading misspelled tweets about Cory Monteith’s ‘heroine’ overdose. And then I think to myself “Oh my god, neither am I“.  Uh oh, here I am, throwing stones from my glass house.  Time to back away slowly from the computer.  But then, the next night and my brain is still pressing on this tragedy; and our obsession with celebrity, that some girl is tweeting about missing someone she’s never met.  But you do, in a sense know who these people are.  You turn to particular programs and characters for comfort or amusement, and I reckon Gleeks are a sensitive, emotional sort right out of the gate.   In a way, the characters belong to you.  And therefore, while I’m sure that @GleesAllINeed is legitimately struggling with losing a television character and celebrity, he was in fact a real person, somebody’s talented and troubled son.  And he has left behind so many people that have to live with the “what if’s”.  He didn’t invent a thing, dying the way he did, there’s a long line of those ahead of him.  Those who could not bear the weight of success, or was unable to exorcise the ghosts that haunt your insides and refuse to let you go.  And you make a choice, and for some, it’s the end of the road.  And you wish it could be different.  But it’s not.

Cory-cory-monteith-14913622-1280-1024All Images Courtesy of Google